A Northern Ontario lumber company says it will hand out cash to employees and contractors who get the COVID vaccine.
In a May 6 news release, EACOM Timber Corporation announced the rollout of a 'thank you' incentive campaign it hopes will achieve an 85 per cent vaccination rate among the staff at its nine sawmills and two secondary manufacturing facilities across Ontario and Quebec.
It includes plants in Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Elk Lake and Nairn Centre near Sudbury.
EACOM has made the program retroactive so that employees and contractors who received the vaccine early on can still receive the incentive.
Those who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons can still apply to receive the bonus and so can new employees, even if they received the vaccine prior to their start date.
The confidential program includes an incentive of $200 for the first dose, $150 for the second, or $350 for a single-shot vaccine.
“We are committed to offering safe working environments for all members of our staff and business partners, as well as contributing to vaccination efforts in our communities,” said EACOM president Kevin Edgson in the release.
“We felt it was our duty to achieve a high target vaccination level at our facilities and that offering a cash incentive, in a confidential and equitable manner, would be a good option.
"We are pleased with the results thus far and appreciate everything our employees are doing to help us get back to normal as safely, and quickly, as possible.”
Unifor, whose union represents 140 workers at EACOM's Ear Falls sawmill, applauded the company for the move.
"We commend EACOM for its leadership in rolling out this new $350 employee vaccination incentive across its Ontario and Quebec mills and specifically for the 140 Unifor members employed at the EACOM Ear Falls Sawmill," Stephen Boon, a Unifor national representative, said in a statement.
"Fortunately, the Ear Falls sawmill has continued to operate well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are confident this new vaccine incentive program will now help achieve much needed long-term protection and security for both the employees of the Ear Falls sawmill and the entire community of Ear Falls community by encouraging as many people as possible go out and get vaccinated."
Since the start of the pandemic, EACOM has continued to operate while at the same time contributing to numerous efforts in their communities.
“I’m honoured to work for a company and with colleagues who have, collectively, donated half of their KN-95 masks to local health units facing shortages, offered money and food to help those who lost their livelihoods, gestures which were matched at the corporate level," added Éric Larouche, EACOM'S vice-president of human resources, in the release.
"We are fortunate to have operations in tight-knit communities, where people come together in times of crisis, and we try to do our part. The feedback and show of solidarity from our staff and partners in Elk Lake, Ontario, has simply been overwhelming.”
At the end of the program, the company intends to hold a draw among its facilities that meet the 85 per cent vaccination level goal for three prizes of $10,000 each. The prize money will be used by the local Joint Health and Safety Committee for equipment upgrades.
EACOM’s vaccination 'thank you’ program runs until Dec. 31, 2021.
The company is a major eastern Canadian wood products company. Operations include the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of lumber and wood-based value-added products, and the management of forest resources.
EACOM owns seven sawmills, a remanufacturing facility, and an engineered I-joist plant with over 1,200 employees.